18 user 1 critic

Sally Hemings: An American Scandal (2000)

Epic television miniseries exploring the complicated relationship of Thomas Jefferson and slave Sally Hemings, who conducted a 38 year love affair, spanning an ocean, ultimately producing children, grandchildren, and lots of controversy.


Charles Haid


Tina Andrews

On Disc

at Amazon

3 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Sam Neill ... Thomas Jefferson
Carmen Ejogo ... Sally Hemings
Diahann Carroll ... Betty Hemings
Mare Winningham ... Martha 'Patsy' Jefferson Randolph
Mario Van Peebles ... James Hemings
Rene Auberjonois ... James Callender
Zeljko Ivanek ... Thomas Mann Randolph (as Zeljko Ivanek)
Klea Scott ... Critta Hemings
Jessica Townsend Jessica Townsend ... Maria 'Polly' Jefferson
Lawrence Gilliard Jr. ... Henry Jackson (as Larry Gilliard Jr.)
Kevin Conway ... Thomas Paine
Amelia Heinle ... Harriet Hemings
Peter Bradbury Peter Bradbury ... Samuel Carr
Chris Stafford Chris Stafford ... Peter Carr
Kelly Rutherford ... Lady Maria Cosway


The story of the extraordinary, controversial thirty-eight-year relationship between Thomas Jefferson and his slave mistress, Sally Hemings. The teenage Sally begins her unexpected relationship with widower Thomas Jefferson in Paris where he is serving as the U.S. Ambassador to France. After escorting Jefferson's younger daughter on a trans-Atlantic journey to join him in Paris, Sally is soon exposed to a world quite unlike the one in which she has lived as an illiterate slave in Monticello. While Sally serves as a nanny of sorts, Jefferson provides her with an education, fine clothes and opportunities to experience cultural events. She and her brother, James, who works as Jefferson's chef and was also educated by him, delight in the fact that they are free in France-and are treated with respect. It is under these circumstances that Sally and Jefferson become acquainted with one another and begin an affair that will ultimately lead to scandal. Written by Echo Bridge Home Entertainment

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Bound by Slavery. Freed by Love. See more »


Unrated | See all certifications »





English | French

Release Date:

13 February 2000 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Monticello See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


| (DVD)

Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


A third child, female, born 1799, died in infancy. The fourth child was again named Harriet (historians refer to her as Harriet [II], 1801-c.1863). The fifth and sixth children, both boys, Madison (possibly named James Madison Hemings, 1805-1877), and Eston (possibly named Thomas Eston Hemings, but not referred to as such by historians, 1808-1856). See more »


[first lines]
Sally Hemings: I was born a slave, but destined to scandal.
See more »

Crazy Credits

ON SCREEN: The story was rebuffed despite the oral histories of Hemings/Jefferson descendants. See more »

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User Reviews

Well done SAM NEILL and Carmen Ejogo
28 February 2000 | by bkuchauSee all my reviews

Hello. I was very pleased with the series. I was interested in watching it because of SAM NEILL but soon found that the acting of SAM and Carmen was so well done that I actually found myself watching TJ and Sally finding each other, loving each other and was drawn in to their unique situation.

I believe that the series did a good thing in bringing this relationship into the public eye and I personally have found I have a great interest in learning more about TJ, Sally (who, unfortunately, there is not a lot available) and the whole horrible slave business.

There were places in the series where I was disappointed, simple things that were not realistic, but I was willing to overlook them because of the superb acting of SAM NEILL and Carmen.

I recommend this series.

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